- Article By: Juliano Dallastra, third year Digital Business Management student
- Infographic By: Lia Devries-Voves, third year Digital Business Management student
- Based on: webinar delivered by Prabhavi Vashisht as part of our TechWeek2021 events
Step-by-step guide on how to use Shopify to start your e-commerce store
While the global pandemic confirms that online shopping is here to stay, small firms and individuals struggle to set up and run their businesses online. Amidst so many alternatives, it is easy to get overwhelmed and frustrated during the process. With affordable pricing and a user-friendly interface, the Canadian company Shopify has shown to be a great solution for those looking to create their own online store. Here is a quick guide to get your online business up and running with Shopify:
It all starts with an idea.
This is perhaps the most important step when developing your e-business. Before designing your website, it is important to have a clear vision of your business and the value it provides to your target audience. Keep in mind the products or services being offered and who is your ideal customer. This will help you create a solid and cohesive brand image. After deciding what your business is all about, you can look for additional resources. Shopify’s BURST webpage is a useful tool for those searching for free high-resolution images, BURST also offers business ideas and other educational content to help you consolidate your brand image.
Making your Logo
A logo is essential for the branding of any company, it is the first impression people get of your business. To create a good first impression, make a logo that speaks directly to your customers and has the ability to stay in their long-term memory. Use simple wording, think about a color palette, and a neat logo design. After brainstorming the identity of your brand, you can either create your design from scratch or use Shopify’s logo maker. Hatchful is a free platform that helps you make your own logo in a matter of minutes. You can pick from hundreds of templates and personalize them to create a recognizable logo for your business. You can also select the perfect format by choosing where the logo will be used, print media, website, business cards, social media…
Setting up your Shopify Account
Now that you have a clear business idea, a collection of high-resolution images, and a unique logo, it is time to set up your online store. Shopify offers a 14-day free trial in which you can experiment and play around with your website. Note that your credit card information is not needed while signing up for the free trial, but will be asked later on if you decide to continue to use the platform. Shopify offers accessible pricing that is adaptable to the needs of your business. Shopify uses your business information to customize the website for you, so be ready to write about the nature of your company and products, your current revenue if your store has been around for a while, and the platforms you plan to sell in. Shopify also gives you the option of designing and developing the online store for someone else to use it. The process is simple, and your online business should be up and running with just a few clicks.
Choosing a Theme and Customizing it
Shopify lets you select from multiple free themes; most of them are highly customizable. While selecting a theme, keep in mind the end customer and how she or he would browse your store. Although Shopify already gives you templates appropriate to your business, it is worth prioritizing the image and personality of your brand. When exploring the themes available, you can check their particular features, styles and the types of business they are suitable for; This will help you decide which themes best serve your store purposes.
After adding a theme, you can go ahead and customize it. Your interface will show exactly how your online store will appear for users. To change the screen view click on the desktop or mobile phone icons on the upper right side of your website.
HOT TIP: While personalizing your chosen theme, make sure to hit the save icon on the top right corner of your screen after every modification you make. This ensures that all the progress you made will be saved on Shopify’s servers and will not be lost in case of connection issues.
On your dashboard, click on the Products tab to add and manage your products. Make sure to take high-quality photos and videos of your product and write a concise description of it. When it comes to pricing, Shopify not only allows you to show a comparison price for sales and promotion purposes but also to enter the cost per item for the generation of profit and margin information. Another great feature of the platform is the inventory section of the products, in which you can add the SKU number and barcode of the products as well as to keep track of your stock.
While shipping to different locations, Shopify calculates the rates based on the weight of the product, you can also include information about the place of fabrication and harmonized system information. Shopify also allows you to quickly add variants of the same product based on the size and colour (this can save you a lot of time if you have a wide variety of similar products). Another great feature of the platform is that it shows how your product listing will look like in search engines, you can also edit and optimize it to generate more visits and conversions.
On the top right side of your dashboard, you will see more settings for the management of your products. In this section, you can add the type of product you are selling, its vendor, collection, and even the tags related to it. After adding all the product information, change the status of the product from “Draft” to “Active” to make it available on your online store.
HOT TIP: Group similar products into Collections. Under the Products tab on your dashboard, select Collections to manually create a collection or to set an automated one. An automated collection will group products with the same tags together.
Launch your Store
The last step in developing your online business is making it available to the public.
When you feel confident about the work you’ve done, you can go ahead and launch your online store. Simply go to Settings>Preference and uncheck the “Enable Password” option. Note that you will have to choose and pay for a plan before your store goes live.
HOT TIP: Before launching your online business, go through every page of the website and guarantee that the information provided is accurate and the layout is user-friendly. Also, try shopping and completing a transaction on your own website to make sure that everything is working.
Blog About it
An important part of running an online business is creating relevant content for your audience. By creating content, you increase the chances of being found in search engines, as well as build authority in the market. You can generate content by writing blog posts, creating infographics, and producing videos and podcasts, but remember, keep it concise and coherent with the brand values and image.
Under your Sales Channel tab, you will find all the tools you need to develop and manage your online store. You will also find the Blog posts section, in which you can create and upload content to the website. While writing a blog post, keep in mind the type of content and language your customers are interested in. Also, make it easier for them to find you in search engines by inserting keywords in the text and tags. Increase the reader engagement by using appealing images and videos as well as adding calls to action in key points of your post. Finally, post content on your website regularly, aim for one piece of content a week to build authority and rank higher in search engines.
Going the Extra Mile
After getting your online business up and running, spend some time perfecting your business model and marketing strategy. Here are a few tips for you to go the extra mile:
-Expand your business by adding multiple sales channels: Shopify allows you to link your online store to other platforms for sales. You can integrate your website powered by Shopify to your social media profiles and other online marketplaces and websites. To add sales channels, go to your dashboard and hit the plus icon beside “SALES CHANNELS”.
-Use analytics to improve your performance: Shopify provides you with analytics reports to help monitor your sales and overall performance. You can check your Shopify reports by clicking the Reports option under Analytics. For more comprehensive reports, integrate your online business into a Google Analytics account. Click here to set up your Google Analytics account for free.
-This tip is for those who plan to advertise on Facebook and Instagram. Shopify allows you to integrate your online store into a Facebook pixel account. By integrating both platforms, you can advertise more efficiently: Through machine learning technology, Facebook pixel monitors users that have interacted with your brand and enables you to customize social media ads to better target them.
This blog post is based on the webinar “Build Your Own e-Commerce Store with Shopify ” presented by Prabhavi Vashisht and hosted by DBSA.
About Prabhavi Vashisht:
Humber Alumni and former member of the DBSA Executive Team, Prab is a passionate marketer with experience in building and running successful digital marketing campaigns in addition to web development.
Tech Week is the latest series of webinars streamed in the month of March. The workshops cover a wide range of subjects, from digital marketing tools to resume and career prep. For more information visit Tech Week 2021.